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The main section of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn. reopens to the public on Saturday, one day after the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
The civil rights leader was gunned down April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, which is now part of the museum complex.The museum has undergone a $27.5 million renovation and now includes short films, interactive displays and new exhibits, including one recreating a slave ship galley and another portraying the courtroom where legal arguments were presented that led to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954.
Many original exhibits documenting iconic events in the civil rights timeline remain, including a replica of the bus from the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and a lunch counter representing the 1960 sit-in campaigns.
“They’re still there,” said museum spokeswoman Faith Morris. “Now we take the stories a bit further by adding archival film, touch screens and interactivity. In many exhibits, you can sit down and get involved.”
Unchanged is the exhibit in Room 306 — where King was staying when he was killed. “It is because Martin died here that this place even exists,” said Morris. “We’ve taken that tragedy and added the back story and the front story. And with this renovation, we now use new technology to help tell those stories.”
Admission to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students with ID and $12 for children ages 4-17.